Saturday, November 24, 2007

The November Paddle

Once the cold water paddling season starts, I recalibrate my expectations for paddling. Instead of trying to get out once a week, I live with once a month. Instead of looking to push the envelope, I stay inside the safety box. It is nice to just get on the water and stretch the paddling muscles.
Today's paddle was nearly perfect as a winter paddle. PB posted a show and go out of Third Beach. Since I hadn't managed to get on the water all month and I wasn't sure about the group going out on Sunday, I was definitely going to make this paddle.
I had trouble getting out of the driveway in the morning and was late getting to the beach, but everyone was very laid back about getting on the water. It was cold and sunny. Eventually, we (PB, BH, CR, CMC, CC, TM, and myself) got on the water and headed towards Second Beach.
TM was a new paddler to the group, so I made a point to talk to him. New paddlers can be a bit unnerving on cold water paddles because the safety margins are slimmer. The conditions were mild and TM was up to the challenge.
We noodled around the point and landed on the beach for lunch. After a sunny lunch, we launched and headed back to the put-in. TM had to get to work, so it was a short paddle.
On the way back, CR and BH stopped to pick up a huge ball of fishing line. The line was stranded on one of the rocks along the coast.
Back at the put-in, PB and I took our turns at rolling. PB's looked effortless. Mine felt rusty, but I came up without worry. The water, a balmy 50 degrees, chilled my noggin.
I look forward to a equally pleasant Dec. paddle.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

Yesterday's American holiday is the day to think about the things for which we are thankful. (I firmly believe, and try to act on the belief, that you should be thankful every day.)
I've got a lot to be thankful this year: the beginning of a great marriage to a great woman, a new house top, a wonderful Alaskan adventure, a new iPhone, several great parties, seeing some of my friends have solid relationships, reconnecting with an old friend, a job that I don't hate, etc.
I'm also thankful that most of the people I know also have a lot of reasons to be thankful. Let's face it any one blessed enough to enjoy kayaking has a lot of reasons to be thankful: having enough disposable income to own (and maintain) the kit needed to kayak, a living space large enough to accommodate a kayak, decent health, plenty of leisure time, the company of good people, experiencing nature, good weather, etc. Plenty of people are not so lucky. They struggle to make ends meet. They cannot find the time to smell the roses. They have some infirmity. They cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. They face the constant threat of violence.
Our lives may not be all that we would wish. However, our balance sheets are in the black. I know mine is and I thank the universe for my good fortune.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Winter Cometh

It is getting colder, days are growing shorter, and the water chills the bones. Winter looms. Kayaking days are scarce and therefore more precious.
Ironically, the volume of non-kayaking obligations grow also. The leaves need to be racked and bagged. The grass needs to be mowed. The gutters need to be cleaned. Friends and family schedule holiday gatherings. Work picks up in preparation for the holiday lull.
The kayaks have been sitting unused in the garage for weeks and I'm beginning to sense the gathering clouds of winter gloom. How to preempt the gathering darkness?
I still plan on kayaking at least once a month. I'm also planning to do some snowshoeing and some projects around the house. My plan also includes regular visits to the gym. I've got no faith in my actually getting to the gym. Toiling away on a spinning wheel in a neon lit dungeon is not spiritually satisfying. My body feels better, the malaise eases a bit, but the spirit doesn't feel better.
It is the energy of nature and friends that nourishes the spirit. Fortunately, the season offers plenty of opportunities for seeing friends and family. I plan on making the most of them (as well as the kayaking).